|Pep Guardiola returns home
It is the festival of returnees as Barça host English giants Manchester United in their third group C game of the 2016/2017 Champions League season, a game that will see a good number of players of both teams face their former employers, the most significant being the second coming of former Barça manager Pep Guardiola.
The current Manchester City coach became the most successful manager in Barça’s history when he won 14 trophies out of a possible 18 after four years at the club where he began his senior managing career in 2008 before leaving in 2012. He made a return to the Camp Nou with Bayern Munich in the 2014/2015 and was beaten 3-0 by the Catalan giants with goals from Messi and Neymar, he now has his second chance to pick up a result from his former home with Man City.
Aside from Pep Guardiola, the likes of Claudio Bravo and Nolito will also make their return to the Camp Nou. Bravo spent the last two seasons winning trophies with Luis Enrique at Barça but joined Manchester City in the summer after it seemed he was losing his place to goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen. The Chilean goalkeeper won a total of 7 trophies during his 2-year stay as a Barça player where he made 75 appearances although none came in the Champions League.
Nolito on his side spent three years wearing the red and blue of Barcelona, playing 106 league games for Barça B from 2008-2011 under current Barça coach Luis Enrique. He also made his debut for the first team but only had 5 appearances across the league and cup before leaving to join Benfica. He’s also scored against Barça playing for Celta Vigo in La Liga.
Also returning to Camp Nou are Manchester City’s current club director Txiki Begiristain who served the same role at Barça under Joan Laporta’s reign as club president from 2003 to 2010 and was part of FC Barcelona’s dream squad that won four consecutive La Liga titles and also Barça’s first ever European Cup in 1992, and Man City assistant coach Mikel Arteta who played in FC Barcelona’s academy and represented their junior ranks for five years from 1997 to 2002 before leaving as just an 18-year old.
There aren’t many names from Barcelona that will be playing against their former team on Tuesday night, but there is one. Denis Suárez spent two years in the Manchester City youth rank where he made two senior appearances for the club in cup games. Barça signed him from Manchester City when he was just 19.
Barça take on Manchester City at 8:45pm CET on Wednesday in a top-of-the-group clash, at the Camp Nou.